My focus this school year will be building character with my students. The recent tragic events that have happened in our country have made me even more certain that building character and working on problem solving skills in my classroom are more important than ever.
As I reflected on last year's students and class, I realize that I should have been more explicit in teaching and modeling how to solve problems between students. I have already been planning for next school year, and I will be heavily focusing on building our classroom's community. One of my main focuses at the beginning of the year will be teaching my students how to solve conflicts between each other.
We will be doing a lot of modeling and role playing how we can solve the problems that might come up in the classroom. Some of the problems that came up often in last year's class were:
*He's talking too loud!
*He's too close to me!
*He's cutting in line!
*He's not my friend!
And yes, I had a class of boys last year! This year will be discussing these issues, and I will be giving my students specific strategies that they can use to solve these problems themselves (and not coming to me for every little thing!).
In one of my teacher Facebook groups (collaborating and talking to other teachers is my favorite) another teacher suggested a Solution Wheel. What a brilliant idea! I made one for my classroom, because I loved the concept.
You can download one for your classroom by clicking the picture above.
We will spend time discussing the difference between small problems and big problems. I also loved the suggestion from the other teacher that she encouraged her students to try 3 solutions before coming to the teacher for help.
I absolutely love using mentor texts with my students. Mentor texts are so useful for so many things, and I have spent my summer researching and collecting high quality mentor texts for my classroom. Here are some of the mentor texts I will be reading to my students as we discuss problem solving and handling conflicts.
One by Kathryn Otoshi
The Boy Who Wouldn't Shareby Mike Reiss
When Sophia's Feelings Are Really, Really Hurt by Molly Bang
Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns We Can All Get Along by Howard Binkow
The Juice Box Bully by Bob Sornson and Maria Dismondy
The Selfish Crocodile by Faustin Charles and Michael Terry
If you are interested in more mentor texts, I have created a new Instagram page where I will be focusing only on mentor texts. You can follow me at @extraspecialbooks or use #extraspecialbooks if you have some great mentor texts that you would like reposted.
If you're interested in joining the Facebook group I mentioned earlier, click the picture below.
Do you have any great strategies for teaching problem solving in your classroom?